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Books on History of Diving.

Discussion in 'History of Scuba Diving: Tales from the Abyss' started by Compressor, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. Compressor

    Compressor ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: NY
    I appreciate all the various suggestions given so far. This will become a sought after thread in my opinion thanks to all your efforts.
  2. John C. Ratliff

    John C. Ratliff Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Beaverton, Oregon
    The National Geographic Society has an old book, titled World Beneath the Sea, by James Dugan, Robert C. Cowen, Bill Barada, Luis Marden, and Richard M. Crim from 1967 which is very well illustrated, and has chapters on:

    1. Exploring the Ocean World
    2. Man Invades the Sea
    3. Revealing the Ocean's Secrets
    4. Diving for Sport and for Science
    5. Cameras Below
    6. The Sea's Dark Museum
    7. Taxis to the Deep
    8. Harvests of the Future
    9. Homes in the Sea

    Colorfully laid out, with many photos and illustrations, it would be a great addition to any diver's library. I beleive it is out of print, is available used through Amazon for a nominal price. Take a look at page 22 for a photo of a cryogenic lung:
    It also goes through a history of diving, submersibles, and living under the sea, with photos of Sealab and of Conshelf experiments, as well as Edwin Link's SPID (submersible portable inflatable dwelling).

    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
  3. adrielnicholas

    adrielnicholas Angel Fish

    Interested divers can gain immensely from books on history of diving. They can learn about the safety practices for scuba diving and make appropriate personal choices such as, ensuring the diving mask chosen fits you right.
    David Wilson likes this.
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

    Your comment about mask fitting reminds me of a prized tome in the Russian-language section of my diving literature bookcase:

    P. P. Serebrenitsky (1969) Техника подводного спорта (Lenizdat).
    The title of this 462-page profusely illustrated Soviet diving book can be rendered into English as "Underwater sports technology" or "Underwater sports equipment". The author devised the following method for comparative evaluation of diving masks (my translation):
    The offerings above are truly remarkable, considering how the book was published as long ago as 1969. There can be few better examples of an 8-model mask round-up, covering as it does not only mask and lens dimensions but also angles of horizontal and vertical fields of vision. Here in the west, we bandy around terms such as "low-volume" without supplying for comparative purposes the exact cubic capacity of the mask interior, while our mask manufacturers neglect to provide even the most basic skirt measurements that would help us have an inkling at least whether a particular mask is likely to match the profiles of our faces or not.

    What is more, a huge illustrated extract from Serebrenitsky's book is available without charge online at Маски (полумаски, очки), дыхательные трубки, ласты. The text can be run through Google Translate for a rough rendering into English. There are very few books like this, in any language, wholly dedicated to underwater swimming equipment and this Russian title is one of the best. Serebrenitsky's comparative study of Russian and Ukrainian swim fins marketed during the 1960s is equally thorough, detailing the negative as well as the positive features of each model.
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Loggerhead Turtle

    Introducing a recent-ish Italian-language contribution to the history of diving equipment....

    Bibliographical reference:

    Luigi Fabbri (2014) Le attrezzature subacquee nel loro tempo 1930-1990. Prodotti, avvenimenti, personaggi, protagonisti dell'evoluzione della subacquea. Edizioni Ireco (http://www.ireco.net). Price: € 30.00.

    Four decades ago, I spent two weeks of my summer vacation in Italy. It was a two-centre trip organised by the country's national tourist agency with half-board hotel accommodation in Rome during the first week and on the Amalfi coast during the second, which enabled me to go snorkelling in the cool waters of the Mediterranean before flying back to the UK.
    While sightseeing in Rome, a copy of the August/September 1977 issue of Il Subacqueo (above) caught my eye at a newspaper kiosk. I was looking for something to read in my hotel room after dinner and one of Italy's diving magazines fitted the bill as my mind was drifting towards the second vacation week to be spent on the coast. That magazine still stands on one of the shelves of my bookcase of diving literature. On page 78 of the magazine I found an advertisement for an underwater equipment purchaser's guide entitled Guida all'acquisto dell'attrezzatura subacquea:
    guida_f.jpg guida_r.jpg
    Books wholly dedicated to diving equipment were an early passion of mine and also something of a rarity. The following morning I managed to locate the small volume in a nearby Roman bookstore. Its 64 pages covered the full gamut of underwater gear available in the late 1970s, not only breathing apparatus but also the basics, including masks, snorkels, fins, suits, weight belts, knives, spearguns, watches, depth meters. 2000 Italian Lire well spent for the booklet, which stands next to its 1967 German-language counterpart by Wolfgang Freihen (below) in my bookcase:
    Curiously enough, there is no English- or French-language equivalent to complement these Italian and German titles.

    My summer reading this year will be another title by Luigi Fabbri, the author of Guida all'acquisto dell'attrezzatura subacquea:
    A week or two ago I took delivery of a copy of Fabbri's 2014 publication Le attrezzature subacquee nel loro tempo 1930-1990, which charts the development of underwater equipment from 1930 to 1990. These six decades are divided into the following five historical periods (my rough translation from the Italian):
    1930-1950: The era of pioneers
    1950-1960: The discovery of the sea
    1960-1970: The golden age
    1970-1980: The race to the Sixth Continent
    1980-1990: The sea for everyone
    The book is profusely illustrated with drawings and colour photographs, many of which can also be viewed on vintage diving websites. Luigi Fabbri has his own magnificent Blu Time Scuba History site at STORIA E TECNICA DELLE ATTREZZATURE SUBACQUEE | Blue Time scuba History and I urge everybody to visit it to see his collection of historical diving literature and equipment built up over a lifetime of passion for his subject.

    As for the book itself, the president of the Historical Diving Society of Italy has provided the following review: "Scorrendo le pagine del libro, leggendone i testi e ammirando le immagini che esse contengono, tutti i sub potranno ripercorrere la storia della subacquea moderna. I più maturi forse con un po' di nostalgia e quali meno maturi o giovanissimi meravigliandosi di come il tutto abbia avuto inizio." My translation: "Scrolling through the pages of the book, reading the texts and admiring the images they contain, all divers can retrace the history of modern diving. The more mature perhaps with a little nostalgia and those less mature or very young wondering how it all began."

    I hope the above is of some interest to diving historians and readers of diving literature. I am looking forward over the next few weeks to a more detailed perusal of Luigi Fabbri's Le attrezzature subacquee nel loro tempo 1930-1990. This title is not only worth a look because of its focus on "prodotti" (products) of historical diving equipment made and sold from the mid to the late twentieth century. It is also a valuable source of information about the "personaggi" (personalities) active during those decades in the European field of diving equipment manufacturing and marketing. I'm pretty sure we're all familiar with the likes of Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Hans Hass, but Luigi Ferraro, Egidio Cressi, Ludovico Mares, Raimondo Bucher, Maxime Forjot and Raymond Pulvénis were also pioneers in their day and deserve to be remembered too. Fabbri's book and his website have done a lot to champion their, and others', cause for elevation to the pantheon of diving. Happy reading!
  6. DontheDiver

    DontheDiver Garibaldi

    Thank you David,most interesting. Safe diving.
    David Wilson likes this.
  7. dead dog

    dead dog Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: SoCal via Pittsburgh, Pa.
    "The Skin Diver" by Elgin Ciampi © 1960.
    Hardcover, 316 pages, 295 mono photos, 33 line drawings, index, further reading.
    What a great book - how valuable this must have been to the recreational divers of the sixties - it contains a bit of everything. I must admit having listed this in the European section initially, but Ciampi was, apparently, an American.
    From the fly: For the expert here is a complete handbook of underwater skill and lore. It provides many new ideas for more effective skin-diving techniques and a wealth of little-known facts about marine life. The chapters on spearfishing and marine life delve deeply into the biology, ecology, and behavioral characteristics of fish and other forms of sea life. There are tips on where to dive, the location of treasure sunken ships, underwater archeology, and the many other possibilities for recreation, sport, and adventure. The result of picturing more than seventeen years of skin-diving experience in waters from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean.
    On the author: For more than 17 years Elgin Ciampi has been skin-diving, photographing, and exploring underwater. He has spearfished, sought pirate treasure, salvaged Spanish galleons, made movies and taken thousands of photographs of marine life and scenery the world over - in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the waters of Hawaii, Florida, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and New England. In the summer of 1959, he participated as official photographer in the National Geographic - Smithsonian Institution - Edwin link archeological exploration expedition in Jamaican waters. As an author, photographer, scientist, and member of the world-famous Explorers Club, Mr. Ciampi is a man of wide interests, all engagingly reflected in this book. He has made a special study of the behavior of sharks. His extensive knowledge of skin-diving techniques, underwater photography, and marine biology has been set forth in three books, numerous magazine articles, a regular column, motion pictures, and on radio and television.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
  8. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    Elgin Ciampi and Carlton Ray also published a great book of marine life in 1956 :

    The underwater guide to...MARINE LIFE
    Carlton Ray and Elgin Ciampi
    A.S. Barnes & Company NYC
    1956 LCCC #56-5558
    Hard cover, with dust jacket , 338 pages
    Full color & B&W photographs and illustrations

    One of the first and best guide to marine life - used by the vintage diver

    Sam Miller, 111
  9. WeRtheOcean

    WeRtheOcean Angel Fish

    In honor of David Wilson, I hereby coin the honorific title of Dive Geek.
    David Wilson likes this.

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